“Diary of a Madman is a farcical short story by Nikolai Gogol. Along with The Overcoat and The Nose, Diary of a Madman is considered to be one of Gogol’s greatest short stories. The tale centers on the life of a minor civil servant during the repressive era of Nicholas I. Following the format of a diary, the story shows the descent of the protagonist, Poprishchin, into insanity. Diary of a Madman, the only one of Gogol’s works written in first person, follows diary-entry format.”
So, I don’t think I would have ever read this short story but I had to read it for school and I have to say, that I really did enjoy it. While it definitely was a little confusing in a few places here and there, overall, it was quite enjoyable and a nice read.
During the beginning of the short story, it seemed pretty normal with everything which was happening. Poprishchin seemed like an average guy working in a really horrible job (even though he thought it was kinda decent) but as soon as he was heading to work, a few pages in, that was when reality started to get distorted and you realized that something was up. Dogs talked and he was able to understand them with ease and it seemed that not only did they talk, but they wrote as well, and wrote letters.
From that moment on it slowly started to show that the main protagonist was slightly off his rocker as he thought that he had a change at getting together with his bosses daughter though she was much younger than him and in a much higher societal class and he was much older than her and in a low societal class. As the story wore on, it became clear that the main character developed some mental disorder of some sort because things he believed and said clearly weren’t that of a normal person who knew where they stood either in society or knew about themselves and how they worked.
Almost towards the end, Poprishchin believed that he was the King of Spain due to some events and that was the turning point in the short story. I won’t say what happened in the end, as you have to read it, but it definitely ended quite interestingly.
It is a fairly quick read so sitting down and just diving into it shouldn’t take too much of your time, an hour, maybe two tops. I do recommend it as it was quite good and overall thought that it was one of the better reads that I’ve had to do for English class. It did have moments of being a little confusing with his thoughts as it was written in journal style, but not so much so that you couldn’t follow it.
Click here to read it online and enjoy! (Yes the link says Memoirs of a Madman but the official title is Diary of a Madman)
Let me know what you think.